The Kobo Libra is the latest generation e-reader and it is going to be available in a week or two. This device borrows the same asymmetrical design from the larger Kobo Forma. Although they both look the same, there are MANY differences between the two models.
The Libra features a 7 inch E Ink Carta HD display with a resolution of 1,680 x 1,264 and 300 PPI. The screen is not flush with the bezel, instead it has a small recess. I find that plastic based screens that has a small dip, offer better resolution. The body of made of plastic and has two manual page turn buttons and both models have a gyroscope to control the orientation. This is ideal for left or right handed people.
The Kobo Forma has a giant 8 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1440 × 1920 and 300 PPI. Many e-readers are using Carta HD or Mobius for the screens, but Kobo is using both. Mobius removes the glass from E Ink and replaces it with two sheets of plastic polymer. A lot of work had to be done to make sure that it would look perfect for demanding e-reading fans, but when it was all done, Kobo came out with something remarkable. And flexible. Not only would it ensure the e-reader was as close to weightless as they could make it, it would offer incredible durability.
Kobo has incorporated a front-lit screen and their patented Comfortlight screen technology in all of their modern e-readers. They are using white and amber LED lights on the bottom of the screen and they project light upwards and evenly across the screen. This is great for long reading sessions, because the light is not shining into your eyes. The white and amber LED lights can be used at the same time, with a slider bar in the drop down menu. They can also be used independently of each other, or shut off completely. The Libra has 19 LED lights, 10 white 9 Amber, while the Forma has 17 lights, 10 white, 7 amber.
The Libra is powered by a Freescale Solo Lite 1GHZ processor, 8GB of internal storage and 512 MB of RAM. It is also waterproof, whereas the bigger brother is not. The Forma is using the same processor and RAM, but it has two different storage models;8GB and 32GB. Choosing the right storage option is important, because the Forma does not have expandable storage via an SD card.
On the software side of things, most of the options and UI is similar. They both have Pocket, Overdrive and access to the Kobo bookstore. The Libra has a few new e-reading features, but nothing really breaktaking, you can checkout our review for a full breakdown.
What model should you buy? During our comparison video the Forma provides a better experience for reading PDF files, manga or comics. The Libra is $100 dollars cheaper and does a good job with reading ebooks and comes in two colors, black and white. The variance of the cases are more pronounced, there are 4 different color options available, but the Forma just has one. Both of these e-readers are available worldwide from the Good e-Reader Store.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.